The second episode of the LDA CSS’s podcast was about the local Multiple Sclerosis Association from Knjaževac. The speaker, Ana Ranđelović, who is the current President of the Association, spoke about the role of this organization, some of the challenges they have, and how the Association marked World MS Day (May 30).
Ranđelović explained that due to the following epidemiological guidelines, they haven't organized any in-person meetings. Instead, they have done some activities online, such as that dr. Lela Mihajlović spoke on a Facebook live about new ways of treatment, models, and plans for the future in the sphere of medicine when it comes to MS. They also prepared a trip to the local hot spring "Banjica" to promote the MS and emphasize diversity and acceptance of disabled people.
The “Thousand Faces Diseases” which is another name for MS, most often occurs in the age group of 20-40, and with different symptoms, most commonly to women. Ranđelović talks about how people in Knjaževac, but also in general, slowly start to accept their new reality and get used to their future lives. Even though there’s no cure as it stands today, people with MS can learn to accommodate the disease and carry on with their lives. An important aspect of it is the acceptance of family members and friends, and how they can be there for the patient with MS.
Ranđelović explains how she got the idea about organizing and making the Association work, and what it does today. Her basic idea was “that we need to see everything with different eyes, from a lighter side. To use projects from our workshops to show the society that we exist and that we’re valuable, and to use it as a way of our fight”.
Even better, the art she and her friends at the Association produce can also be considered occupational therapy — not only do they get to spend time together, but it also helps them fight against the disease more easily. Using their art, they’re trying to promote the local municipality, and their works are showcased in the local Tourist Organisation.
The association is about making friends, laughing, and talking about their daily lives. The local government supports them by providing as much assistance and resources as they can. Also, all other organizations and parties are providing grants for local projects and workshops. “Everything is based on our will. Sometimes, the resources are not crucial — much is determined by our willpower”. However, the local government should do more to make all public buildings and places available to wheelchairs, such as the local Cultural Center (mostly the theater and stage inside), pointing out that there ought to be more “will, patience and understanding” and that “we all are equal, we all have the same needs just as the healthy people, but some of the needs are inaccessible to us”. There are creative ways to solve these obstacles. “The things are sometimes so simple, yet so complex”, she finishes.
You can watch the entire episode here.
By: Goran Miletić